While he posted the fastest time in Q2 in Melbourne, it was 'party mode animal' Lewis Hamilton who pulled out all the stops in Q3, posting a best time 0.6s quicker than the Ferrari duo and wiping the smile off Sebastian Vettel's face in the process.
Looking back on the race, qualifying and pre-season testing, the German claims that while Mercedes remains the pace-setter the actual gap to the Silver Arrows is less than witnessed in qualifying.
"If you look at the pace, in testing, the first race, it's pretty clear that Mercedes is fastest," vettel told reporters in Bahrain, "probably with a three to four-tenths' gap.
"That's also what we saw in the race," he continued. "Obviously Lewis was controlling his pace in the beginning and then pushed when he had to. He had, obviously, time in hand. I think that's the fair answer. And then I think it's very close behind them.
"Overall, I think in qualifying the gap looked a bit bigger than it probably should have been," he added. "I think if you look at the session again, it's pretty clear that in Q2, in particular, Mercedes and Lewis didn't get the lap together, and then in Q3 he did.
"I think Max had a small mistake also in Q3 and I had a small mistake so we should have been a bit closer," he admitted. "I think that's the gap we saw in qualifying and in the race."
Check out our Thursday gallery from Bahrain, here.